Cross Country Skiing
Edmonton has many groomed cross-country ski trails, as well as lessons available for cross-country skiers at all levels.
Find a park or trail that meets your needs as a beginner or advanced skier.
Learn the basic techniques including diagonal striding, stopping, turning, falling safely as well as hill techniques.
Etiquette & Safety
Ski Trail Etiquette
- Respect groomed ski trails – foot, paw and bicycle prints damage ski tracks.
- Observe directional signage – many ski trails are ONE-WAY for your safety.
- Yield to skiers traveling downhill.
- Signal to others when passing – call “Track.”
- When stopping, step out of ski tracks and off the trail with your equipment so others may pass safely.
- Watch out for accidental litter at lunch or snack breaks and pack out what you pack in.
- Carry appropriate winter clothing even on pleasant days.
Skiing Safety Tips
- Use trails that are suited to your ability and fitness level.
- Never ski on rivers or creeks – the flowing water below makes ice thin in places.
- Watch for signs of frostbite, hypothermia and fatigue.
- Keep clear of grooming equipment – operators cannot see or hear skiers well.
- Clear the trail when you stop.
Hypothermia & Bonking
To prevent hypothermia, a condition where your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, bring along water and high-energy food for snacking. Bonking, a condition where the body becomes weak and slow without enough food energy, is prevented by snacking every 30 minutes while skiing. Carrying extra wax and clothing can help if conditions change while on the trail.
Emergency Blufone Service on City Parkland
Help Fight Crime
Grooming ski trails takes time, expertise and care. To build a solid foundation of snow that allows ski trails to withstand heavy use by cross-country skiers requires an intensive effort by groomers. Up to three passes are needed to condition and level snow and a fourth pass to finish and set classical and skating tracks. In total, it takes one hour to prepare each kilometre of ski trail in average snow conditions.
The City prepares the cross trail system using the following grooming frequency. City staff work hard to ensure all tracks are set as listed on the schedule below, but please know that weather conditions may alter the schedule slightly. The grooming frequency is as follows:
|River Valley Operations|
|Victoria Golf Course and Park||Monday, Wednesday & Friday|
|William Hawrelak Park||Monday, Wednesday & Friday|
|Riverside Golf Course||Monday, Wednesday & Friday|
|Kinsmen Park||Monday, Wednesday & Friday|
|Terwillegar Park||Tuesdays and Thursdays|
|Hermitage Park||Tuesdays and Thursdays|
|Argyll Park/Millcreek||Tuesdays and Thursdays|
|Twin Brooks District Park||Once a month
(service paid for by the Twin Brooks Community League)
Most trails in Edmonton are set for both classic and skate skiing cross-country techniques.
Classical skiing refers to the skiing motion most people commonly associate with this sport – diagonal striding along a snow track in an exaggerated walking motion. To achieve a forward motion, a skier steps down and kicks back one ski and glides forward on to the other ski. A classical ski is waxed with kick wax and glide wax on the base. Kick wax is applied to the middle section of the ski for grip and glide wax to the tip and tail for glide.
Skate skiing resembles ice-skating. A skier kicks off the edge of one ski and glides on to the other ski, resulting in a “V-shaped” footprint. Only glide wax is used on the base, applied along the entire length of the ski.
The length of time it takes to get around on a pair of skis depends on snow conditions, trail difficulty, weather and the skier’s ability. To ski for approximately ONE HOUR on groomed trails, you will need to travel:
|Family with young children||2 - 4 km|
|Novice or beginner||4 - 6 km|
|Intermediate||6 - 8 km|
|Advanced||8 - 14 km|
Choice of wax is one of the most important elements of cross-country skiing. Using the right kick wax makes a day of skiing so much more enjoyable. Call your local ski shop or club for more information about waxes and/or waxing clinics.
Dogs on Parkland
Dogs are permitted on trails provided they are on a two-metre leash, 10 metres from a playground, sports field or picnic site at all times; and, in an area governed by signage that permits dogs.
Dog paw prints damage ski trails, so please use good etiquette and keep dogs off groomed ski trails.
If you want to ski with your dog, Terwillegar Park is a designated off-leash park and has a groomed ski trail.
Edmonton Nordic Ski Club
The City of Edmonton would like to thank the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club (ENSC) for their continued partnership over the past 20 years. ENSC has been instrumental in the development and grooming of cross-country ski trails in Edmonton. For more information on ENSC, follow the links below.
For More Information
Parks and River Valley Operations - General Information
|Telephone||In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311